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The Art and Science of Finding What Customers Want

    Unraveling the secret of identifying the “Want Factor” is no less than striking gold for businesses. This elusive concept, both an art and a science, demands not just intuition but a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics and an application of systematic research methods. Historically, entrepreneurs like Henry Ford or Steve Jobs have successfully transformed societies with their revolutionary products, indicating the significance of this intuition.

    This elusive factor lies in the potent tool of empathy – understanding customers’ emotional needs and aspirations. The beginnings of many transformative enterprises often emerge from the founders’ personal frustrations with existing products or services. Reed Hastings’ irritation with Blockbuster’s late fees led to Netflix, Travis Kalanick’s annoyance with taxi services resulted in Uber, and Steve Jobs’ dissatisfaction with personal computers catalyzed the birth of Apple.

    Cold Hard Facts Still Matter

    These stories underscore that while empathy kindles the initial spark, a comprehensive plan for profitability is needed to sustain the business flame. Despite their innovation, companies like Netflix and Uber wrestle with profitability issues, revealing that more than empathy is needed to flourish in the business realm. This is where market research, surveys and other data come in. These methods allow business owners the ability to confirm or debunk your initial frustrations and ideas through rigorous analysis of your target customers’ needs, desires and overall frustrations that are present.

    Sometimes “Successful” Startups Aren’t As Successful as You Think

    Startups often fall into the trap of rolling out low-cost products to quickly amass users, intending to hike prices later for profitability. However, this successful model often hides deep unprofitability with no realistic prospect of eventual profit. Companies like Uber and Netflix may seem successful, but their financial struggles reveal that appearances can be deceptive. WeWork’s rise and fall is a cautionary tale for businesses blinded by the glamour of disrupting established industries. Therefore, business decisions should be rooted in solid market research and financial wisdom, rather than drawn from potentially misleading industry examples.

    In the dynamic business landscape, enterprises must strike a balance between ambition and realism. Uber and WeWork’s stories underline the importance of prudently assessing market realities and technological potential. Harness the “Want Factor”, but remember – the road to success is paved with empathy, thorough research, sound planning, and a healthy dose of realism.

    The Want Factor – New Book Coming August 2023


    Erik McNair

    Erik McNair is a digital marketing professional living in Arlington, OH. As co-owner of McNair Media, he has focused on developing and executing SEO and marketing strategies in a manner that supports the client’s consistent business growth and enhances brand equity and awareness. He attended and graduated from Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville GA with a degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Telecommunications. He’s a certified Google Adwords, Google Analytics, and Bing Ads marketing professional. Outside of marketing, Mr. McNair is an avid technologist. He’s always running the latest software betas and testing out new and exciting products. He occasionally writes about thoughts on technology, but his main focus has been on growing and establishing McNair Media.